River, where do you ramble?
In deep woods we meet
Inside a secret
That floats softly
From my tongue
Into your current
When I was a child
I plunged to your depths
And mingled with the watery spirits there
I rolled frantically like a pinwheel
Until invisible hands
Planted my feet in your muddied bed
I rose like a crooked cannon
Doubled over and ready to launch the remains of my burning breath
In violent exchange for a greedy gasp of the remains of my days
Which have led me here
Banking on your shoulder
Coming up short for time
Leaning in for invisible hands
And finding none
Here, I am the sacred one
I am become my own saviour
So pray you, River
Where shall we ramble?
Consciousness seeks to nurture a deeper truth of being while the world wrestles confusion, tedium and opposing extremes.
From a precipice of reversals
I envisage realities stained by a confusion of tedium
I know only this: I am extant
Belly exposed – gnawed open by hunger for the interior
For a collusion of continuum that sees insides out
I am stable in my rudimentary way, but I reach…
I reach for the magma of understanding
Singeing my extremities
Reducing me to sediment
My core extracted
Gravitational lore exacted
On light of becoming
When we open ourselves to the truth and power of nature and light, we are resolved to the same truth and power within ourselves.
A sylvan dream requites our arrival
Permeating gold ablution washes over giants
Reaching us in strands
Vestiges of brilliance painting our skin
We are but miscreants and maladies
An opus dissonant and wistful
Resolved and replete by respiring light
We are sublimating, reintegrating
Syncopated selves dissipating fleet
Into amorphic jubilance rendered
I think of you
And the many times
You tried the landing
Dot the shallows
Of what might have been for you
But for me,
I am here
Waterlogged and foreign
Time crawling out of my skin
And abandoning me to gravity
And as I become part of the landscape
I wonder now
What becomes of you?
This poem was originally inspired by a painting I admired while wandering through a summer farm and craft market. The artist, Isabel Gibson, was lovely and had many interesting stories of the coastal and pastoral settings depicted in her paintings. Nature inspires art, art inspires poetry, poetry inspires love, love inspires life…and we are cycled and recycled over and again.
There is a way up the hillside
But the peak is treacherous
And the descent, often, involuntary
Mortals call the attempt death defying
You will know you have arrived
When you are filled with purpose
And destiny is in the wind
This is where you should watch your step
The world will push
The heavens will pull
You will see only impossible choices
Then, the wind will rise
This painting has remained a powerful and ever-fresh source of inspiration since I bought a print of it nine years ago. That is the magic of Mary DeLave Art.
When I look at any piece of Mary’s work, the words “mystery” and “primal” leap to mind. It conjures up from within me something ancient and instinctive; something fundamental and pervasive. What is it about these paintings that is so deeply and endlessly compelling?
Is it the vibrancy of her colours, paired in such a way as to ignite themselves and each other? Maybe it’s the celebration of music, a most powerful force unseen but universally understood. Perhaps it’s the frequent presence of animals in Mary’s work, or the many wide, unwavering eyes shared by all her species that convey an intimate interconnectedness of life.
Maybe it’s the way – if you look at a DeLave painting long enough – a face you hadn’t noticed at first will often emerge, sometimes seeming part of the more obvious faces…are we separate or are we one? And perhaps there is a faint suggestion of spirits in what looks like invisible profiles kissing cheeks.
I could go on and on. Gazing at Mary DeLave’s artwork feels like an infinite process of discovery of self, of the nature of life and of something beyond. Do yourself a favour and head over to Mary’s site and feast your eyes on some gifts that just won’t stop giving!
Will you dance if I play?
Will you sing if the music knows you?
Kiss my cheek and loose yourself to the wind?
All that is promised, my friend
Is the golden rooted hum in the lumber of my guitar
And the spirit of trees weeping Spanish Moss
Echoing their deep bass on the oaky breeze
Tickling our palate for lust for life
Only this raises the palms of the dead skyward for more
Will you dance if I play?
Will you stomp the earth into resonating vibration
So that the whole world may sing
All dressed in a dream
With spiraling notions relieving the seams
This is what we came here for
Something ancient and primal
With our skin stretched across the depths
Like a drum
Will you dance if I play?
Will you spin into arms and out again?
Will you rise with a melodious eye
And spy on the whole of existence?
Its steel strung heart of persistence
Voicing the chant of sublime being
Will you dance the transcendent carnality
Into harmonious crescendo
And raise the light into ovation?
We came out from a land
Rich with harmony and sacrifice
We built legends and legacies
And threw fire from our fists
Unto the firmament
We brought down gods upon our heads
We sought shelter in their arrogance
Devoured our fear like ripened fruit
And this is how we nourished our souls
Grew teeth in our throats to imprison them
Behind voices made lame by our dinner
Our hearts grew thinner
And our chests spanned wide
To shield and conceal our labouring breath
Convinced of our impending death
But our souls
Trapped in our breasts
Heaved through our skin
The immortal summons
What if we go in
What if we go under
Where sunlight doesn’t reach
What if the guards step aside
And let us enter
What if there is light still?
How will we re-configure ourselves
How will we wrap ourselves
Within and around a reality
That is unending
What if there is a way
And we have already chosen it?
What if we surprise ourselves
What if we step aside
And let the mystery prevail
What if we are not masters of our destiny
In a great gamble
Of opportunity and chance
Where risk and reward
Are synonymous with play
And the consequence is freedom
What if the guards were put in place
By our own fear
What if they were never really here?
Fear is just a pioneer
Leading our way into undiscovered territory
Making of us children at the feet of a great storyteller
Where colour has no rules and form is open to interpretation
And the unexpected is the stuff of life
And the trail leads on as the story goes
And the artist knows what we fail to imagine
But the ground is broken
And the sun is high
And the first faces will break the chain of habitual seeing
And the pioneers will break their hold on the living
And no more will the roots of tyranny determine our destiny